Friday, 11 September 2015
It was gloriously sunny, but I knew I had probably left it too late - a few days earlier I might have stood a better chance, and a little earlier in the day; these Brown Hairstreaks like to lay their eggs around lunchtime. As it turned out (sorry to break the white-knuckle suspense), I was right; despite spending much time staring at blackthorn thickets, I saw no Hairstreaks. But what the hey, it was a delightful afternoon stroll, and various of my butterfly friends turned up along the way: Speckled Woods and Holly Blues, still very full of beans; tired Meadow Browns; a bright fresh Small Copper and a couple of Small Heaths (I only saw my first of this usually quite common species the other day, which is odd); a basking Comma and, back at the railway station, a fine Red Admiral feasting on a late-flowering Buddleia bush. There were also frequent flypasts by dragonflies of various sizes and colours - every summer the dragonflies seem to get more abundant. Also, along the way, a mighty thorn went straight through the sole of my left boot and into the ball of my foot. Little blood was drawn. This was Nature's way of telling me to get a new pair of boots...
So, for the second year running, I have drawn a blank on all the Hairstreaks - Green, White-Letter, Purple, the impossibly rare Black, and the elusive Brown. Which gives me an idea: maybe next year should be the Year of the Hairstreak, in which I finally track down all five? Talking of futile quests.